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Refiguring Rhetorical Education

Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, 1865-1911

Jessica Enoch

Publication Year: 2008

Refiguring Rhetorical Education: Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students, 1865-1911 examines the work of five female teachers who challenged gendered and cultural expectations to create teaching practices that met the civic and cultural needs of their students. 

The volume analyzes Lydia Maria Child’s The Freedmen’s Book, a post–Civil War educational textbook for newly freed slaves; Zitkala Ša’s autobiographical essays published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1900 that questioned the work of off-reservation boarding schools for Native American students; and Jovita Idar, Marta Peña, and Leonor Villegas de Magnón’s contributions to the Spanish-language newspaper La Crónica in 1910 and 1911—contributions that offered language and cultural instruction their readers could not receive in Texas public schools.  

Author Jessica Enoch explores the possibilities and limitations of rhetorical education by focusing on the challenges that Child, Zitkala Ša, Idar, Peña, and Villegas made to dominant educational practices. Each of these teachers transformed their seemingly apolitical occupation into a site of resistance, revising debilitating educational methods to advance culture-based and politicized teachings that empowered their students to rise above their subjugated positions.

Refiguring Rhetorical Education considers how race, culture, power, and language are both implicit and explicit in discussions of rhetorical education for marginalized students and includes six major tenets to guide present-day pedagogies for civic engagement.



Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

In every way, this book project has been about teachers and their teaching. Because of this, my deepest gratitude goes first to Cheryl Glenn, who taught me how to be a teacher and scholar. Her remarkable work ethic made me see how projects like these are accomplished, and her unwavering confidence and consistent support ...

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1. The Profession of a Woman: Female Teachers, Marginalized Students, and Rhetorical Education

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pp. 1-29

In 1829, Catherine Beecher joined educators across the country to establish woman’s “true profession” as teacher. Educators such as Beecher recognized that, because of a national shift in educational priorities from classical learning and religious indoctrination to moral education, social etiquette, and basic literacy, ...

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2. Revising Rhetorical Education: Lydia Maria Child and The Freedmen’s Book

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pp. 30-72

In Lydia Maria Child’s short story “The Meeting in the Swamp,” four slaves speak to a group of their peers concerning what to do about their masters if they decide to escape to nearby British ships. As displayed above, each character offers a different procedural argument to his audience, advocating outright violence, religious forgiveness, ...

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3. Resisting Scripts: Zitkala-Ša and the Carlisle Indian School

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pp. 73-120

In 1900, Zitkala-Ša, a Sioux and former teacher at the Carlisle Indian School, published three autobiographical essays in the Atlantic Monthly: “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,” “The School Days of an Indian Girl,” and “An Indian Teacher among Indians.” In these essays, Zitkala-Ša does more than simply discuss her life as an Indian student ...

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4. Claiming Cultural Citizenship: Jovita Idar, Marta Peña, Leonor Villegas de Magnón, and La Crónica

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pp. 121-164

In 1911, Jovita Idar, along with fellow teachers Marta Peña and Leonor Villegas de Magnón, contributed numerous pedagogically oriented articles to La Crónica (The Chronicle), a Spanish-language newspaper based in Laredo, Texas.1 As Idar’s excerpt above exemplifies, these three Mexican teachers used their writings writings in La Crónica ...

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5. New Visions, New Traditions: The Female Teacher and Rhetorical Education in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 165-182

Robin D. G. Kelley’s message in the June 2002 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education speaks directly to the pedagogical arguments made by Lydia Maria Child, Zitkala-Ša, Jovita Idar, Marta Peña, and Leonor Villegas de Magnón, as well as the project of this final chapter. ...


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pp. 183-200

Works Cited

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pp. 201-216


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pp. 217-225

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About the Author, Back Cover

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pp. 241-242

Jessica Enoch is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in College English, College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Nineteenth-Century Prose. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780809387229
E-ISBN-10: 0809387220
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809328352
Print-ISBN-10: 0809387220

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 7
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 246683928
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Refiguring Rhetorical Education